Growing means being customer centered today

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Experience is what will make your customers stick with you . . . or dump you!

The fact is a business cannot flourish or grow today without being truly customer centered. Often the dealership team may be so focused on efforts to make sales that it forgets to deliver on that “great customer service” promoted in all the marketing materials.

So, it’s always a valuable learning experience to examine characteristics of successful organizations, like, say, Amazon.

Vivek Jaiswal, co-founder of, cites Amazon as one of the world’s top customer-centric companies. He explores the question: Why are some companies hugely successful at being customer centric while the others fail? After all, if adding value to the customer is a priority, keeping the customer at the heart of the business is mandatory. Here, then, are some of Jaiswal’s observations on how Amazon does it:

It begins with Amazon’s vision statement: “We seek to become Earth’s most customer centric company”. According to Jaiswal, Amazon lives up to its vision by incorporating customer centricity in everything it does.

Looking back, Amazon, founded in 1994, was among the first companies to leverage the power of the Internet. Started just as an online bookstore, it’s now worth an estimated $450 billion. But, despite being a very large organization, Amazon manages to consistently rank amongst the most customer centric businesses in the world?

First, keep your ear to the ground, urges Jaiswal. For example, every manager, including Amazon’s CEO, spends two days every two years at the customer service desk. It ensures he or she is listening to the customers and understanding their needs. The result is that everyone from the top down has the customer’s perspective in mind all the time. It helps the entire organization become more customer centric.

Second, the leader must be customer centric. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is known to be a customer-obsessed leader. His empty chair story is unforgettable for those who’ve read about the company. Specifically, during the early board meetings, Bezos reportedly would leave a chair empty in the room. He’d ask the attendees to assume the empty chair was occupied by the most critical and crucial member of the company – the customer. He’d then encourage his employees to make all their decisions bearing that customer in mind.

Finally, don’t be afraid to innovate if it could lead to a better customer experience. Amazon is known for never leaving any stone unturned in the process of helping the customer and making the experience better, easier and faster. From The Kindle to drone delivery, all of Amazon’s innovations are aimed at adding value to the customer.

Innovating may not always work as expected but nothing succeeds if never attempted. In 2009 for example, Amazon caught the fury of users when it had to delete copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” from their Kindles because they proved to be unauthorized copies. Bezos posted a heartfelt apology on Amazon’s forums and it didn’t stop the organization’s quest to continue innovating.

When it comes to innovating, perhaps this best captures good thinking: During the development of the Kindle, when one of the finance executives asked Bezos how much they had to spend on its development, Bezos answered “How much do we have?”

Clearly having a company philosophy that it’s the customer at the center of the business, and striving to make sure a good customer experience is always the top priority, will move the dealership forward in today’s world of retail selling.


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